Advocacy projects - Quality4Children

The Standards for Out-of-Home Child Care in Europe is a project undertaken by three international organizations for child care - FICE, IFCO and SOS Children's Village – called Quality4Children or, more frequently, Q4C. The project seeks to ensure and improve children’s and young adults’ development chances in out-of-home care in Europe.

AdvocacyFor a number of reasons, hundreds of thousands of children in Europe are unable to grow up with their biological families, leading, after official intervention, to them being placed into out-of-home care. A number of different care systems are offered to these children to ensure and improve their chances of development. An inadequate care environment can hinder this development and leave children vulnerable and at risk of numerous violations of their fundamental rights. The Q4C manual has been developed as a standardized guide to care provision to ensure that the rights of children and young people in out-of-home care are respected.

The Q4C Standards have been developed in the framework of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child; each of the Q4C Standards reflects one or more of the core principles of the UN CRC: non-discrimination, devotion to the best interests of the child; the right to life, survival and development; and the respect for the child’s views.


The vision statement of Qualiy4Children states that:

Children without parental care have to be given the chance to shape their future in order to become self-reliant, self-sufficient and participating members of society, through living in a supportive, protective and caring environment, which promotes their full potential.


The mission of Qualiy4Children is to improve the situation and development chances of children in out-of-home care, by means of the following objectives:

  • Creating a European network of stakeholders advocating children’s rights in out-of-home care.
  • Developing European quality standards based on the experiences and good practices of the people directly concerned.
  • Promoting the adoption, implementation and monitoring of quality standards for children in out-of-home care at national and European level.


Qualiy4Children has five main equal values which were considered during project development:

  • Participation: People directly concerned by out-of-home care for children have been actively involved in the project since 2004; these include children and young adults who have experiences in out-of-home care, families of origin, caregivers and social workers.
  • Gender Mainstreaming and Diversity: Gender mainstreaming and the diversity of all those involved in out-of-home care are reflected in the processes.
  • Partnership: People and organizations directly concerned by out-of-home child care have the opportunity to join the project at national and European level.
  • Commitment: Q4C commits to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  • Accountability and Sustainability: Q4C is accountable to the 3 organizations that created the project. Its sustainability will be ensured through a European network steered by the 3 organizations, which will ensure the promotion of the standards and the development of partnerships to advocate the improvement of the situation and development chances of children in out-of-home care.

AdvocacyThe Q4C Standards were developed to ensure and improve the situation and the development chances of children and young adults in out-of-home childcare in Europe. The standards aim to support the stakeholders of out-of-home care for children and young adults; these are children and young adults, biological families, caregivers, care organizations, child protection services as well as national and international governmental institutions.


The Q4C Standards consist of a set of 18 standards, which are organized according to the care phases. Each Q4C Standard comprises four elements.

Standard areas

In this document, the out-of-home child care process is divided into three areas.

Decision-making and admission process:

The process has two phases: the assessment of the child’s situation in order to decide on the best possible solution and the steps leading to the integration of the child into his/her future living situation.

Care-taking process:

The care-taking process is the period between the admission process and the leaving-care process. It embraces the actual care and support from the caregiver.

Leaving-care process:

This is the process through which the child/young adult becomes independent, returns to his/her family of origin or moves to another placement. It includes the further support he/she gets from the (by then) former caregiver.

Standards of Out-of-Home Child Care in Europe (PDF, 370 KB)


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